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07 March 2006

Death never takes a holiday

"Christopher Reeve widow dies at 44". I saw this today in Yahoo headlines. She died of lung cancer, no less. She never smoked a day in her life, but according to doctor's, 1 in 5 women will get lung cancer "just because." She left behind a 13-yr-old son, two grown stepchildren, and a couple of sisters. I can't imagine what that boy is going through right now. Lost his father nearly 2 yrs ago and now his mother.

When I read that headline, my heart plummeted and the first thing I thought was, "What's going to happen to their son?" Who's going to raise him now? The stepchildren? Her sisters? The grandparents? Did the mother plan ahead for this? This is something I've thought about since my Dad's minor heart attack at the age of 48. He's 60-something now, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was still living at home and one of my best friend's had spent the night. I remember the hallway light being flicked on early in the morning and someone coming down the hall. Fast. She, my mother, was wearing pants and the fabric brushing together sounded frantic, like she could've been running down the hall, but was probably walking at a fast clip. I remember seeing my father propped up on the gurney, awake, oxygen tube in his nose, and wanting to tell the EMTs, "Please take care of my Daddy. Please don't let him die." At some point during that traumatic time, I remember asking my Mom who would take care of me if they died. Who would we call? What do we do?

At 25, I moved out on my own. Over the course of my life--I'm currently in my mid-30's and living with my fiance--I would soon learn to dread early morning phone calls. Especially when the name that came up on the Caller ID said "Mom n Dad". It got to the point where I would associate an early morning call with bad news. More often than not, it was. Another relative passing away. My father in the hospital. Again. Mom got wise eventually, though. When she wanted to reach me before going to work, the minute I said hello, she would say, "Don't panic. Everything's fine." But it's like, too little too late, y'know? The thought is already implanted and it soon manifests into dreams of family member's death for weeks. At this point, I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall. And it will. Eventually.

I know that if anything happens to my parents, I would be devastated. I have the type of relationship where I actually like to hang out with my parents. Even if it's just having breakfast together. My Dad makes me laugh and I can honestly say that I hope I grow up to be half the woman my Mom is. Though I would prefer for them to leave this Earth together--I wouldn't want either one of them to have to live without one another--that's wishful thinking on my part. It would be so much easier to grieve for both than to have to go thru it again later on at some point.

Now, my sister would be a different story. We're 2 days and 2 years apart (yes, we're both Gemini's--she's the 3rd, I'm the 5th). I'm her rock, she's my anchor--we've discussed this (see Sister, Sister entry Dec. 10, 2005). We're very, very close--because it's just been me and her--and I can tell her anything. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about her or the kids. We've been talking more than usual lately because she's my maid of honor, but even if she lived out of state, she would still be a part of my life. It's the fact that I can pick up the phone and call her that makes it okay, y'know? We can meet for lunch sometimes because we work down the street from one another. She's still in my universe and it's all good, y'know? I cannot imagine my life without her in it. If anything ever happened to her, I would be crippled. I know this. I wouldn't be able to function for a week. Maybe two.

And Steven, well....If I lost him, I might as well just curl up and die myself because I truly would not know what to do. In every sense of the word. He communicates as little as possible with his side of the family (he's not telling anyone that we're getting married), so I really would have no idea who to call. I wouldn't know what to do about the house, I wouldn't know the first thing about making arrangements, what to do with his accounts...it's boggling my mind even as I write this, but it's something I think about. All. the. time. It scares me how much I subconsciously depend on him. And not to make me happy, because personally, I was perfectly content with my life as it was going before I met him. But for other things. Like the house. Fixing things. How to work the damn universal remote. I've told him "If we ever break up or something happens to you, I'm done. I'm...so done. I'm not doing the dating thing ever again." Course, he might feel differently if it was reversed. He's 6 yrs younger than I am. The point being, this man has been my life for 5 yrs. We're getting married in September. If anything happened to him now, years later, whatever, I'd be devastated, crippled and not be able to function for a month. Maybe longer, knowing me.

Some people fear it. Some people long for it. And some people are prepared for it. As much as I analyze it--even dream about it sometimes--I'd like to think that I'll be in that third category.
posted by GeminiWisdom @ 11:36 AM |

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